Bill Thorndal


Bill Thorndal


Bill Thorndal

LAUREL — Bill Thorndal, 74, of Laurel, died on Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, after an extended hospitalization. Bill was born in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, to Lucille and Herbert Thorndal. His mother contracted polio when he was a small boy and she spent the next 50 years confined to a wheelchair. This contributed to Bill’s deep empathy for those facing extra challenges.

When Bill was a young teenager, his father started a bank in Columbus, N.D. It was here in rural northwest North Dakota that Bill excelled in basketball as Dale Brown’s first “big center.” (Shaquille O’Neal was his last.)

Following high school, Bill married Patricia Whaley and had four children. In addition to being a full-time student studying finance at UND, Bill worked full-time at a bank to support his burgeoning family.

For the next 40 years, Bill worked in all aspects of banking with the last 20 years as a bank president — first at Central Bank in Great Falls and then at 1st Security Bank and 1st Citizens Bank in Laurel. He loved being a community banker with the opportunity it gave to learn about new businesses and to help these small businesses develop and grow sustainably.

In 1982, Bill married Margit Thorndal. Their many happy years together were filled with stimulating conversations, traveling to discover exciting new restaurants and wines, throwing elaborate dinner parties, and relaxing at their cabin on the Boulder River. Bill was an avid reader, a true lifelong learner and aficionado of the arts, making him an interesting and nimble conversationalist. He was never happier than when planning a dinner party or another big trip.

In 1999, Bill retired from banking to devote his time to the business he and Margit developed — Madagascar Imports. They loved working together and the business gave them many opportunities to travel the world and meet fascinating people.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Lucille and Herbert Thorndal, and by his brother Herbert, Jr. He is survived by his wife, Margit; and his children, Catharine (Jane); Mark (Helen) and their children Iver, Britta and Finn; Paul (Paul), all living in the San Francisco area; Julie (Leif) Linderman and their children Jace and Sloan in Billings. He is also survived by brother John (Loretta) of Las Vegas; sister Mary (Veronica) of Los Angeles; numerous nieces and nephews; and beloved dog, Jax.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 4, at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 1108 N. 24th St. W., in Billings.

Suggested memorials are to the Community Lecture Series at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, the Yellowstone Art Museum or the Billings Symphony.

Leave a Memory or Condolence

6 thoughts on “Bill Thorndal”

  1. Gary Temple and Marylee M. Moreland

    Dear Margit,
    We are so very sad for your loss of Bill. He was always a character we enjoyed.

    Gary Temple and Marylee Moreland

  2. Lillian Pisch Hartung

    Dear Margit and family,
    We are so sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. Please accept our condolences. He was a witty and interesting man and will definitely be missed.
    Lillian and Jim Hartung

  3. Lola & Arnie Hansen

    Thorndal children and Margit,
    Arnie and I were so sad to learn of Bill’s passing. We’ve lost touch and had no idea he had been ill. The obituary was right on when it described him as a banker for small businesses. Our South 40 celebrates it’s 40th anniversary this spring and he made it possible when he was bank president here in Sidney. Many fun memories of the Thorndal bunch. RIP Bill

  4. Phil and Jolene McGimpsey

    With sympathy Margit,

    Time passes so quickly. Seems like it was just yesterday that the Weavers-McGimpseys invaded your and Bill’s patio for a summertime dinner. Great memory made with you and Bill that night. And outstanding food and drink.

    Take heart, there will be sunny days ahead.

    Phil and Jolene McGimpsey

  5. Carole Manley

    Dear Margit,

    I am so sorry to learn of your husband’s passing. You have my deepest sympathy and you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Carole Manley

  6. I am so sorry to learn of Bill’s passing. I have very fond memories of Bill who served several years as Treasurer of the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce. As Chamber exec he and I had many meetings and long conversations together. Fine memories of a fine gentleman. I wish I had realized that he lived so near by. My wife and I moved to Billings in 1992; we’d have enjoyed his company here as we did in Great Falls. Our condolences to the Thorndal family.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *